BETA PHOTO: Ferguson's Leftovers in the winter. Probably not ...
Here is a Big Cottonwood Canyon oddity. Instead of the traditional quartzite that the majority of the canyon is comprised of, the Powder Ridge Wall is a buttress of quartz monzonite (granite) that is similar in composition to that of Ferguson Canyon on the other side of the ridge. The buttress is north facing, and some spots see some sun in the afternoon. It can get pretty windy, and the brush doesn't provide much protection; however, the wind may provide the relief you needed from a hot sunset. The rock is not frequented often, and suffers from neglect. Loose, gritty rock is not all too uncommon here. There are quartz veins and varying sizes of quartz crystals in the rock which are very solid. So far, there are nine well bolted lines with good anchors for rappeling. You're not likely to get sandbagged here, as the ratings are pretty soft. It would be easy to walk to the top of the buttress from the east and top rope the climbs. If the crowds are getting you down, this offers a decent alternative.
Here are the routes listed from left to right: Main Wall:
See directions to Ferguson Canyon. Once past the water tank, follow the Ferguson Canyon trail down to where the stream is. There is a small stream crossing here and a trail hikes up the ridge. The trail winds through some brush, then over some quartzite boulders. Eventually, you reach a flat, sandy spot between the tops of the Guano and Heart walls. From here, find a faint, narrow animal trail that traverses across the grassy slope on the north facing side of the ridge. This trail leads through some more brush and leads to the center part of the buttress. Plan on a twenty minute approach. The ridge can be taxing, especially in the hot sun, so pack light. An alternate approach branches off the main trail as if heading to the Heart wall, and climbs the gully between the Guano and Heart walls to the flat, sandy spot mentioned above.
Blaze up an arete past two bolts and then jump across the top of a chimney to the main buttress. Although these initial moves are fun, they seem more like an afterthought. You could simply climb up the short chimney and clip the third bolt for your first point of protection. Beyond the third bolt, the climbing gets interesting. A fantastic undercling lets you bring your feet high enough for you to reach a side pull over a bulge. Pull your legs up and lieback your way up to some enormous jug...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
I think this is an awesome area, I've been climbing there for years with Greg, the only things sucky are the hike and some of the trails around the climbs, which is really not that bad. Some routes which are not posted are awesome too! Nice area when you are sick of crowds!!!
The approach is not that bad, a bit under 1/2 hour of not particularly steep ground. The silk worms were the only issue this weekend, it was a full blown invasion up there. There is an alternate gully east of Heart Wall for the descent, it's all sand so you can run down in about 2 minutes. Don't try going up it though, you'd be there for hours.
The animal trail going north from the sandy area is easy to miss the first time. After hiking up the lower half of the ridge and scrambling over some small boulders, you reach a flat sandy clearing. If you look ahead of you (east) there's a sandy trail switchbacking further up a small hill along the ridge. Go to the north end of the sandy clearing and watch for a trail angling slightly down and east into Big Cottonwood.
This wall is great! I can't believe it isn't more popular. I enjoyed the routes just as much if not more than anything in ferguson canyon proper. Its not that chossy. Hike up the ridge until you see a small stone careen i just built and follow the trail of to the left if you facing east.